Thursday, July 24, 2014
Sharing the Cloth Diaper Spirit
These are some of the reasons why many of us also cloth diaper. Now as my oldest child understands more and more each day, I often consider how I can help him see some of the things I most value instead of just going through the motions, hoping he pays attention. With that in mind, I offer a few ideas on how to make your values more apparent to your child in a meaningful way. The older the child the deeper you can go. I note here that we aren’t cut and dry with our values. We use disposables from time to time and don’t always buy the most natural products.
If you use cloth to save money, let your child or teen sit down and do age-appropriate math to calculate the money saved by using cloth. Consider things like wipes, water, and gas to run to the store for disposables. There are even handy calculators online specifically designed to weigh the cost of cloth versus disposables. Compare this to the cost of other parts of your budget, like clothing, food, or rent/mortgage. This is a great life lesson particularly for those teenagers in the home who think they could make it on their own no problem! For a younger child, instead of buying a pack of disposables, share with them the $6-12 you saved and let them choose a treat or special activity with that money instead. Remind them that they were able to do that because you saved money by choosing cloth that week.
Perhaps you are concerned with the environment? If your family uses disposables, help your child become aware of them. It is trash that will sit in our (or someone else’s…) landfill for 300-500 years. Fill a trash bag with your cloth diapers to give a visual of how much disposable trash one goes through in a day or week. Pull out a history book. Oh my, we were not even the United States of America 300 years ago!? Consider the enormity of the situation—the impact if one child (or ALL children) wore just a few cloth diapers. Again, simple math can come into play as you add up the diapers for every day, week, month, year, and kid. This is also a great way to show life is not always cut and dry. The convenience of a disposable diaper now and again might be helpful. We are constantly balancing our needs with the needs of the world around us.
If health or the environment is a passion of yours, pull up your favorite search engine and grab ingredient lists from cleaning products, beauty products, disposables, pads and tampons, or nail polish. Aside from increased vocabulary (Sodium Polyacry-what!?), it is a great way for a pre-teen or teen to learn we aren’t just what we eat but also what we put on ourselves.
In creating a visual of how decisions can affect others we can purposely share some of our values with our children. By actively including our children in understanding the values we hold we are hopefully creating a generation of willing hearts to continue forward after we are done with diapers. I’ve offered only a handful of ideas here. Consider other ways you can make your values and practices more apparent to your family and friends. Share yours in the comments if you have a minute!
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